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Archive for July, 2013

Chicory flower

July 31, 2013 3 comments
A rare sight in the full sun

A rare sight in the midday sun

The flowering of wild chicory coincides with the hot weather.

The stems are a stringy, nobbly mesh covered in buds, a number of which bloom each day to create a breath-taking early-morning display.

Usually by mid-morning the day’s crop is so shrivelled it scarcely has any colour.

But, for some strange reason, not today.

The chicory flowers have stayed open, so I took advantage.

Chicory has a host of culinary uses, but for me it’s just a visual feast.

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Rose chafer

July 30, 2013 Leave a comment
Destructive jewel

Destructive jewel

I have a perfectly ambivalent attitude towards rose chafers.

I hate them for destroying roses.

Recently I’ve found them burrowing head first into nectarines.

On the other hand I’m dazzled by the great slab of iridescence on their backs.

This one was dead when I found it, floating in the swimming pool, so luckily I didn’t have to decide its fate.

Nectarines

July 29, 2013 7 comments
Nectarine tree

Nectarine tree

This is the tree, one of the largest and most solid in the orchard.

And these are its fruits, supremely sweet and running with juice.

Nectarines

Nectarines

There’s some debate among scholars as to what the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden actually was.

Some say it was a pomegranate, others a fig and others a grape, rather than the traditional apple.

I think it should have been a nectarine, because there are few fruits more tempting.

Bindweed

July 28, 2013 2 comments
Bindweed flower

Bindweed flower

This attractive plant is about as insidious as they come.

The wet spring seems to have suited it and its little satellite-dish flowers are peeping everywhere.

Normally I try to head it off at the pass before it gets the chance to flower; now I have to try and stop it seeding.

Not that it would make a lot of difference because it sprouts from  the root.

And the roots go on and on under the soil, dipping in the black waters of Hades, probably.

I can’t believe the speed at which it grows, twining its stems round plants I want to keep so that it’s less in danger.

It’s worse than wild clematis, and that’s saying something.

Peaches

July 27, 2013 3 comments
A large peach

A fairly giant peach

There are fewer peaches on the trees than usual, probably a result of poor weather coinciding with pollination.

However those peaches that there are, are BIG.

Am I being sent a message, that I should thin the fruit out in future even though I hate doing it?

Herb of happiness

July 26, 2013 Leave a comment
St John's Wort

St John’s Wort

St John’s Wort is one of the saints of the herbal world.

In large doses it’s poisonous to livestock, but to humans it brings one huge blessing.

It’s a natural anti-depressant.

It’s been found to be as effective as Prozac, and with fewer side-effects.

The fact that it’s so attractive as well is just an added bonus.

When we strim the orchard, I try to save a few clumps to cheer me with their beauty.

Queen Anne’s Lace

July 25, 2013 5 comments
Note 'blood drop', in fact an attraction for insects

Note ‘blood drop’, in fact an attraction for insects

Queen Anne’s Lace is one of those lovely vague poetic names which can actually refer to more than one species of plant – in this case either cow parsley or wild carrot.

The photos here are of wild carrot, which has more compact flower heads and also a little red flower in the middle which is supposed to be Queen Anne’s blood from when she pricked her finger.

 

 

However it was cow parsley which I had in mind when I wrote my novel Queen Anne’s Lace and featured the plant in a pivotal scene. I also meant the title to be a comment on the complexities of family relationships.

 

 

A spider scuttling for shelter

A spider scuttling for shelter

It was windy yesterday when I went to photograph the wild carrot blooms and the intricacies became a blur so I brought a couple of stalks indoors.

Almost immediately a very attractive spider dropped out from under one of the flower heads, raced across the work surface then, finding a precipitous drop, followed its silk all the way back to the flower!

Underneath of a bloom

Underside